This work examines the beauty regimen and the clothing culture of the royal family of the Joseon Dynasty.
- Book Intro
Wigs made of shiny black Korean hair have become a worldwide fad in recent years. Yet Korean hair-do’s popularity has a long history. A traditional Korean wig, gache, was well known for its beauty even in China in olden times. Not only during the Joseon Dynasty but also during the Three Kingdoms period Korean women paid much attention to their beauty regimens and attire, and Chinese women and Japanese women were also very interested in Korean beauty regimens and attire. How did the royal ladies of the Joseon Dynasty take care of their appearances? There has not been much research about how women dressed their hair, what they used for makeup, and what kinds of accessories they wore in olden times. However, the fact that a certain type of style was popular at a certain time implies that there existed a universality of aesthetic sense at any particular time. Aesthetic sense changes with the passage of time, so it constitutes the basis of a culture. This book examines paintings and artifacts that are representative of these respective eras in order to imagine the lives of women in each era and it further attempts to look into the differences among these phenomena in terms of era and nation.
Regarding the accessories used to decorate the body as well as the hands and feet, this book tries to investigate their functions and usages as well as their beauty. There is not much in the written record about women’s garments. Yet the beautiful and new are usually recorded in the form of painting both then and now. Examining a variety of paintings, this book has closely observed and fully explored the history of beauty regimens and attire.
The royal family of the Joseon Dynasty represented the epitome of beauty of that time. However, little attention has been paid to date to Joseon royal beauty regimens--the quintessence of beauty-- and Joseon royal costumes—the magnification of beauty. These days hallyu or South Korean culture receives a lot of attention around the world. It would be meaningful to take a close look into the Joseon royal family’s elegant beauty regimen and attire and to compare them with those of the Chinese royal family and the Japanese. This book will bring out the history of these beauty regimens and attire, which has only been considered as a sub category of costume history, placing it center stage and, in so doing, will show how beautiful they were.
- About the Author
The author Lee Minjoo completed her MA and PhD in the Department of Fashion Design at Sungkyunkwan University. She wrote a thesis, “Studies on the Ceremonial Procedures and Costumes in the Installation Ritual of the Crown Prince” for her doctoral degree. She was a research professor in the Research Institute of Korean Studies, Korea University and now is a senior researcher in the Royal House Book Collection Research Division at the Academy of Korean Studies. Currently, Lee is conducting in-depth research on the originality and universality of Korean attire by comparing clothing cultures among Korea, China, and Japan using the books housed in Jangseogak (the royal library of Joseon) of the Academy of Korean Studies. Her writings include Drawing Dragons and Stitching Phoenixes, The Desire of the Chimajeogori, “Gisaeng, A Fashion Leader in the Late Joseon,” and “The Cultural History of Exposure and Concealment.”